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Rolls Royce SMR confirms North Wales and Cumbria are top targets for mini-nuclear plants

Rolls Royce SMR says North Wales and Cumbria are its top targets for mini-nuclear plants in the UK.

The firm’s CEO Tom Samson joined the Department for Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng MP and Energy Minister Greg Hands MP on a visit to Wylfa yesterday. They discussed the potential for bringing new nuclear to Anglesey.

The venture is developing SMR tech with plans to roll-out 12 plants in the UK. The company says if it gets regulatory approval from the Government by 2024 then it can provide power to the UK grid by 2029. SMRs can largely be built in factories and assembled on-site, making them cheaper and quicker to assemble than traditional reactors.

READ MORE: Wylfa site ‘has everything’ says UK minister

In North Wales, Wylfa, and Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd would be potential locations. UK Government is also considering a large scale nuclear plant at Wylfa and is talking to potential developers and operators.

Talking about site selection, Mr Samson said: “North Wales, alongside West Cumbria, has some of the best sites to locate the first Rolls-Royce small modular reactor (SMR) power plants.

“The existing grid connection, infrastructure and access to a highly skilled workforce are some of the main reasons Rolls-Royce SMR sees these locations as the fastest route to deploy our power stations and begin to provide the UK with clean, affordable and sustainable electricity for generations to come.”

During the visit, the Government’s Future Nuclear Enabling Fund (FNEF) was announced by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Tom Samson welcomed the announcement, saying: “The launch of the fund is excellent news and we welcome any move by government that reduces development risk and introduces certainty – which can be a barrier to building new nuclear plants at pace.

“Given the huge potential for building Rolls-Royce SMRs across the UK, the new fund – alongside the launch of the Great British Nuclear initiative – could be instrumental in helping down select the sites and begin delivering against the Government’s aspirations for up to 24GW of new nuclear power by 2050.”

Rolls-Royce has been a nuclear reactor plant designer since the start of the UK nuclear submarine programme in the 1950s. Rolls-Royce SMR will draw upon standard nuclear energy technology that has been used in 400 reactors around the world.

The Rolls-Royce SMR power station will have the capacity to generate 470MW of low carbon energy, equivalent to more than 150 onshore wind turbines. It will provide consistent baseload generation for at least 60 years, helping to support the roll out of renewable generation and overcome intermittency issues.

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